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Off to see Peru! Part 2

Huacachina, Nazca

sunny 70 °F

Huacachina is only a few hours away and we get there in time for the sandboarding. This is the main reason Huacachina is such a popular stop. They have massive sand dunes right outside of the small oasis and lagoon. It is really only a small resort that caters to visitors to the sand dunes. The large town of Ica is just a few km away. I checked into my hotel, the La Casa de Bamboo. Small room with my own bathroom for 70 sols. Change into shorts, sandals and go meet Maria at 4 pm for our sand buggy adventure, 50 sols. We meet at Carola Del Sur and then follow Maria around the lagoon to a large sand dune. The sand buggies are at the top so all of us have to hike up this steep sand dune. This is not an easy slog for anyone over 50 and Barb, Cindy and I were dead last to the top. They assign you to a sand buggy and you pick a seat. I sit next to the driver as my knee just would not bend enough to sit in the back seats. Barb, Cindy and the others pile in and off we go. All the drivers try to make it an exciting ride and the women certainly do shriek as we roared over the top of a steep dune and down the other side. We go up and down at least 6 large dunes before our driver takes us to the steepest dune around. He gets out the sand boards, shows us how to wax them and then demonstrates how to position yourself on the board. I watched most of our group go before I decided to try it. Barb & Cindy decided to pass but the rest our group made it safely down the slope, I figured I could as well. As long as you point straight downhill, you will be OK. Lay on the board, grip the rope handles, legs in the air and the driver pushes your board over the edge. A bit scary at first but about half way down I relaxed and enjoyed the ride. It really is fun once you realize you are not going to fall or crash. All of us walk 25 meters to a smaller dune and slide down that one. The driver meets us there and takes us back to our original start point. The second time is better as you know you what to expect. Then a third round. It is now starting to get close to sunset and our driver picks a good spot for the sunset. Everyone piles out and Barb, Cindy and I watch the sunset. We get our photos then the driver heads for our starting point. He again roars up and down the dunes to give everyone another thrill ride. This is the reason people come to Huacachina and do not miss your chance to try sand boarding. All the drivers have a tip jar and point at it when you get out. I gave the guy 10 sols and a few others as well. Certainly not everybody. I find Barb & Cindy and we make our way carefully down the dune to the lagoon. This in not easy going for us as you slip and slide with every step. Once at the lagoon we walk to our hotels. They are staying at the Carola del Sur Hotel and it has a nightly BBQ buffet for 20 sols. Quick shower and then over to meet Barb & Cindy for dinner. I pass on the meat part but they have plenty of pasta, veggies, rice, fruit to keep me happy. A good meal and fun chatting with them and other sand boarders. A young couple from OZ were across from us and they were staying several more days for more sand boarding. They hike to the top of the very large dune right behind the hotel and slide down as many times they can before exhaustion sets in. Ah, to be that young & energetic. After dinner I walked to my hotel next door, exercises, read bed at 10 pm. Best day so far in Peru. A fun day sand boarding and no injuries!

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I was up at 7 and ate at my hotel. 16 sols for oatmeal, French toast, water. Room to clean up, then I walked to say goodbye to Barb & Cindy. They were taking the 8:30 shuttle to Nazca so they could do the scenic flight then on to Arequipa. I thought I would see them again but our paths never did meet. Nice ladies and were fun to chat with while toured Paracas and Huacachina. I walked around the lagoon for photos and some exercise. Room, shower, check out. I left my sandals with the hotel as I would not be wearing them again. Peru Hop leaves at 1 pm from where they dropped us off. Huacachina is so small the bus cannot drive the streets so everybody walks to the meeting point. I meet Ian and Toni again at the pick up point. We had met at the Paracas Reserve. From India now living in Hong Kong, they are touring South America. Our first stop is only 20 minutes away, the El Catador Vineyard. It is hot and I really did not want to listen to the tour guide talk on and on about making wine and pisco. He rattles off English then Spanish for about an hour. I gave up after about 15 minutes and then wandered around taking photos of the vineyard. They have a tasting room and all 40 of us are offered different types of pisco and then their wines. Like all wine tours, they hope you buy something. The vineyard tour is a complete waste of time IMO but I guess the wine lovers would disagree. Peru Hop times everything and this stop allows the bus to reach Nazca at dusk. Back on the bus we are non stop to Nazca. We are reminded each time we get on the bus by our guide that no # 2 on the bus toilet, no loud talking, horseplay or smoking. I never did see anyone that needed to be reminded by our guide to respect the rules. All my fellow passengers are English speaking tourists. Locals don't take Peru Hop, too expensive.

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We get to the Nazca Viewing Platform at almost dusk. It is hot, windy and a long line. One group goes up, photos then down. A one way affair. It is slog to the top for those with mobility issues. Once at the top, I took my photos of the 3 figures you can see from the platform. Best one was the 'tree'. I would not do it again. I am going to fly over the lines tomorrow and this is a poor substitute for viewing the famous lines of Nazca. Once Into town, I quickly realize Nazca is much larger than I thought. All of us that are staying overnite in Nazca get off and are assigned a taxi to our room. Peru Hop pays for the taxi. After a 10 minute taxi ride, I realize my crap hostel is not close to anything. I do have a room to myself with bathroom but regret my choice of hostels. Clean up and then I ask the French volunteers where I can get something to eat. There is nothing close but a 7-11 type store. I buy some bananas, cookies for 3 sols and that will do. I chat with the French girls and find out they are staying in Peru for several months by volunteering at various hostels. Free room, meals for helping out with needed chores. Exercises, shower, read, bed at 10 pm.

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I was up at 7 am and had the bread, tea that the hostel has for BF. The girls went on the flight over the lines a few days ago and told me that the 30 minute flight was the one I wanted. One of the girls had taken the 60 minute tour and wanted off the plane way before that. I have the girls book a 30 minute tour for $80 and wait for the pick up. The van comes picks me up and then several others on the way to the airport. Everyone gets dinged another 30 sols for airport tax. You also must show your passport. They weigh you as the planes only hold 4 and have a weight limit. They put me with 3 other guys and the 4 of us troop out to the plane. The pilot gives us a quick briefing on seat belts and how to get good photos of the lines of Nazca. Once over the first lines, the pilot banks back so the right side can photograph the lines, then repeat for the left side. There are 12 figures on the 30 minute tour and I see what the girl was talking about. After 20 minutes of weaving over the lines in a tiny plane, I was ready to land. Same with the other 3 guys. An hour would have been way too much. Nobody got sick, but the pilots told us that some do and they have air sick bags ready if needed. I banged my shin getting off the plane and blood was streaming down my leg. I showed my leg to a security guard and he walked me to the first aid office. They cleaned it and put a dressing over it. I had some time before my ride to my hostel so I did some t-shirt shopping. I found a good one with the Nazca Lines on it for 30 sols. I caught my van ride to my room and decided to walk to the market recommended by the French girls. I bought some fruit, photos, then back to my hostel. I ask the manager what else I could do before meeting the Peru Hop bus at 7 pm.

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He suggested going out to see the Chauchilla Cemetery that has thousands mummified bodies of ancient Peruvians. For thousands of years the people of this area mummified their dead and they are not too far from Nazca town. The hot, dry climate is perfect to mummify bodies. The manager tells me a couple are going in 30 minutes and I could join them for 30 sols. I have a bite to eat and then off we go. He has a Jeep type vehicle and you need it as part of the way is rugged dirt roads. Our guide gets us started at the small museum and then heads for the shade to chat with the locals. It is very hot, dry and after 10 groups of mummies I had enough of viewing the dead. I guess it is worth seeing but really, how many mummies can you look at before it becomes repetitious. 10 was my, "that's enough" number. There were hundreds more that went unseen by me. I head for the shade, buy a bottle of water and wait for the other couple to finish so we can leave.

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Back at the hostel I pay the 10 sols to use the showers, toilet to clean up. After that I ask the manager how I can get to Mom's Cafe. He tells me he will take me and at 5 pm off we go, I bring my journal up to date and then see Ayan and Toni enter Mom's. I order omelet, toast, tea for 16 sols. We chat about flying over the Nazca lines and compare photos of the lines. His Spaceman is better then mine and he forwards it to me. At 7 pm our Peru Hope guide arrives and walks our group a few blocks to our bus. We get a new guide as Maria went on to Arequipa after letting us off in Nazca. There are no stops on the way to Arequipa and I watch some movies then try to get some sleep,

Posted by vegasmike6 13:07 Archived in Peru

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